It was probably inevitable that on a journey of this length, including this much travel, this many different climates and cuisines, that one of us would get a little under the weather. Dawn is the lucky winner, as she woke up not feeling great this morning.
It was also highly likely that at some point the guy with the pale complexion would get sunburned. Yesterday was the day. As I mentioned in the blog yesterday, we spent the day at the beach, laying on the sand, playing in the water. By the time we got home, I was slightly lobster-esque. Before you say, “Hey, Dummy! Try a little SPF for that,” I want you to know that I did. I had SPF 30 all over me, guaranteed to survive many dips in and out of the water. It didn’t. I burned.
So, Dawn was sick-ish, I was burned-ish, and neither of us felt like embarking on a grand adventure. My philosophy has always been that you will feel better if you are up and doing something. Dawn’s philosophy has often been to tell me to stuff my philosophy. In this case, we took off.
I-10 runs the width of Florida, and it also ran right by our motel. It would have been easy to just jump on it and put about 500 miles under our wheels at 75 MPH. This trip’s never been about easy, though, so instead we dropped down to Hwy. 98 and hugged the Gulf coast. Not as fast, but a hundred times as gorgeous. We were loving the drive when we started hitting towns. I should have known that any area so pristine and perfect would be overdeveloped to the max.
We hit the town of Destin, Florida in mid-morning. To say Destin had nice views is understating it:
There were people on jet skis, boats, and even one para-sailor, high above it all:
The 2010 Census says that Destin, Florida, has a population of 11,000 people, give or take. Those 11k must be pretty spread out, because it took us about 40 minutes to drive through the town. I think they have their stoplights set to force you to stop every 100 yards and see what shopping opportunities are available. The answer is: all of them. Destin is wall to wall retail and restaurant establishments.
After the delay of getting through Destin, I realized that we weren’t going to accomplish a lot of miles today, which was fine. This trip is only about the journey, never the destination. Today, that journey averaged out to about 28 MPH. Que sera sera.
Our one tourist stop for the day was Seaside, Florida. Have you ever seen the movie The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey? It has been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in the mid-90s, and Dawn loves it too. For a long time, it was even the favorite movie of my daughter Samy. If you haven’t seen it, The Truman Show is a movie about a baby that is raised completely within a TV show, with people watching every aspect of his growing up – even watching him sleep at night. Truman is surrounded by actors playing a role 24 hours a day, yet is blissfully unaware. The producers of the movie hunted extensively for a town that could serve as the fictional, perfect town in the movie, but came up blank. They were constructing sound stages in Hollywood when they stumbled upon Seaside, Florida – a planned community that is a little spooky in its perfection. Here’s a shot of the town Truman grew up in, from The Truman Show:
That is Seaside, Florida, in a nutshell, and we drove through it today. Here’s a couple of shots we took:
Yes, those are granite steps leading up to the impossibly quaint little post office.
We even tracked down the house that Truman himself lived in:
If you look closely, you’ll see that the number 36 is above the door, which was Truman’s address in the movie, although the actual address is 31, and can be seen on the fence post.
It was cool seeing the real life part of one of our favorite movies, but the town of Seaside kind of gave me the heebie jeebies. It was almost too perfect, like a Stepford town. I got the feeling that if you were to litter, an automated arm would come out, pick you up by the collar, and drop you in Litter Jail.
We drove another four hours, but in the end, we did about 300 miles today. We drove the length of the Florida panhandle. Tomorrow, we turn south toward Key West, and Dry Tortugas National Park, the southernmost point in our trip. That will be the unofficial halfway point.
Cheers, and safe travels!